tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 9, 2014 6:00am-8:01am EST
northern iraq, these syrians find refuge in a park. egypt, where more and more syrians seek safety or a route to europe. more than two million refugees, syria is hemorrhaging women, children, and men. inside syria, over six million displaced. more than half the human flood leaving syria are children. one million children, 70% under the age of 12. children like this one, only two days old when her family fled to iraq. or this 4-year-old, her face scarred from a life saved. or this one, whose hope is to go to school. or this child who works to feed his family.
the tide does not subdied. last august over 40,000 refugees cross add temporary pontoon bridge in northern iraq in just one week. recently outside lebanon, 6,000 new arrivals in a matter of days. in jordan, refugees flooded in in an overnight crossing. borders are overflowing. support is critical and critically needed for communities hosting so many refugees. neighboring conindustries have shown great generosity, but the strain on economies, on infrastructures is acute. food, education, health care, housing this crisis requires more than lifesaving humanitarian aid. they urgently need robust economic development to help host countries cope. across the region, the sense of he future has been broken.
life now is reduced to survival and waiting for peace and a path home. >> i'd like to thank the u.n. high commission on refugees for allowing us to use this video and for many of the posters that you see around the hearing room. i appreciate their outstanding work helping syrian refugees and this video gives us some context of the importance and gravity of the issue we are thinking of today. today's hearing will focus on the plight of syrian refugees fleeing the violent civil war in their home country. this is the world's worst ongoing humanitarian crisis and the worst refugee crisis since the rawandan genocide in 1994, and perhaps since world war ii. last year when i visited a syrian refugee camp in turkey, i was especially struck by the
plight of the children. it is no exaggeration to say that a generation of syrian children is at risk. more than 11,000 children have been killed in the conflict, including hundreds who have been shot by snipers or summarily executed. let me add for a moment about this visit to this turkish camp and a word of gratitude to the turkish government. 10,000 people were living in that camp, men, women, and children. efforts were being made, superhuman efforts, to provide for them for the basics, for food, for medicine, even for basic education. so i want to put my comments in that context, many of those receiving countries who are receiving syrian refugees are making extraordinary sacrifices on their own part to help. 1.1 million syrian refugee children, 70% under the age of 12, 60% not attending school, one in 10 syrian refugee children is working to support
their families. including some as young as 7 years of age. thousands are unaccompanied or separated their -- from their parents. we have heard troubling reports of boy refugees being recruited as combatants. and girl refugees being forced into early marriage. the onset of winter puts syrian children at greater risk, especially the hundreds of thousands living in temporary -- several children have already died from the cold and tragically more are likely to follow. the assad regime and lesser extent some rebel groups have blocked humanitarian assistance in a deliberate effort to increase pressure on besieged children. several children have starved to death. one medical expert who examined underweight refugee children said, we have a middle income country that is transforming itself into something a lot more like somalia. aid workers report that signs posted at regime checkpoints
that say kneel or starve. this is a deplorable war crime and must be stopped. i'm proud to say the united states has provided $1.3 billion in humanitarian assistance to aid syrian refugees, leading the world. we have a moral obligation to assist but it's also in our national interest to find a path to stability in that region. this humanitarian catastrophe has created great challenges for neighboring countries, including many u.s. allies, hosting vast majorities of the refugees. these countries have saved the lives of untold members of syrian refugees. we have to continue to support them. take a look at lebanon. a country of 4.4 million people now hosting 860,000 syrian refugees. this is more than 20% of the lebanese population. it would be the equivalent of the united states facing a sudden influx of 60 million people. unhrc projects an additional one million could arrive in
lebanon this year. this has increased competition for limited job opportunities, raised food and housing costs for all, and created severe strains on schools, health care, and other social services. in fact the number of syrian school-age refugee children in lebanon are soon likely to exceed the number of lebanese school-age children. as the syrian conflict grinds on, unhcr has done efforts to resettle, especially vulnerable refugees in third countries, including 30,000 this fiscal year, 2014. for decades the united states has received more refugees than any other country in the world. the american people have greeted these refugees in open arms and hearts. but the united states only accepted 31 syrian refugees in the last fiscal year. and the administration has said we are likely to accept a few hundred this fiscal year. two years ago i asked the administration to grant
temporary protected status to syrians. as a result the united states is providing a safe haven to hundreds of syrian visitors who are in -- who were in this country on a temporary basis, but we also should accept more vulnerable syrian refugees who have no way of getting to the united states. one issue that needs to be addressed is the overly broad hint shun in our immigration -- prohibition in our immigration law that excludes any refugee who has provide any kind of support to an army rebel group, even a group we in the united states support. this would prevent a syrian who gave a cigarette or sandwich to a free syrian army soldier from receiving refugee status in the united states despite the fact that the united states is providing assistance to the free syrian army. at the same time, other countries must play a larger part in accepting syrian refugees. for example, the conservative government of the united kingdom has said it won't accept a single one.
none of the gulf arab countries have committed to accept syrian refugees. these countries need to step up as well and do their part. you heard the statistics. but it's critical to recall behind those numbers are real people. a number of the syrian refugees are here today. i'd like to take a moment to introduce a few of them who have been fortunate enough to find refuge in the united states. t reyab, please stand. him and his wife are journalists from damascus who took part in a nonviolent protest movement. he was arrested, tortured by the regime for publishing recordings of the regime's violent response to peaceful demonstration. her life was threatened as was the life of their 4-year-old daughter. the family fled from syria in january, 2012, and he came to the united states with the state department's international visitor
leadership program. amyrrh, please stand, thank you. of damascus. rb and and his wife live in virginia he was imprisoned twice for opposing the assad regime. once in 2003, again in march, 2012. after being released in 2012, he fled to jordan, came to the u.s. after he was admitted to the masters program at georgetown. in august, 2012, the assad forces massacred hundreds of civilians in his hometown and arrested two of his brothers who are still sadly missing. he received asylum in 2013 is working full-time and continuing his studies. mar, please stand. he worked as a journalist for over nine years publicizing human rights abuses rye the regime. arrested seven times, imprisoned for two years between ticks and 2008 when he
refused to stop writing, the prison guards broke his hand. after his release from prison, he continued to work as a journalist. he participated in nonviolent political protests in march, 2011, and publicized aboosts by syrian security forces. he pled to turkey in april, 2011, afters was pursued by the regime. he was resettled in the united states by catholic charities after receiving refugee status. he submit add statement to the committee i'd like -- submitted a statement to the committee i'd like to read a small portion of. he said, i would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the american people for providing me refuge in the united states. also i'd like to urge you to do all you can to make u.s. resettlement available for more syrian refugees. obviously the united states cannot resettle all of the hundreds of thousands of people who are fled from syria, but they are many vulnerable people who could be helped, including women with problem pregnancies, girls subject to forced marriages, orphans, elderly people, and sick people.
as this syrian conflict enters its fourth year, it's clear the refugee crisis will continue. while there may be differences about how to resolve the conflict even within this panel, there should be no disagreement that it's a moral and national security imperative to do all we can to help alleviate the suffering of innocent syrian refugees. i look forward to our discussion about what steps congress and the administration should take to address the crisis. i now recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee, senator cruz of texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to the witnesses who have come today to this hearing. the refugee crisis in syria is a humanitarian disaster. and i want to thank the chairman for convening this hearing and for helping shine the light on what is happening. i'm the son of a refugee from cuba who fled oppression, and to the refugees who have come
here today, let me say welcome. i think the united states should always be a clarion voice for freedom. and a voice against the oppression of the innocent. given what is happening in syria, the united states is rightfully participating in the relief efforts there. and i think it is critical that we need to -- that our aid be dispensed in a way that is consistent with the vital national security interest of the united states. and in particular with our allies in the region in maintaining stability in the region. the next few months we are going to mark the third anniversary of the beginnings of the civil war in syria, which tragically grinds on with no foreseeable prospect of resolution in the near future.
and the humanitarian crisis continues to get worse by the day. amnesty international estimates that some 2.3 million people have been displaced. -- 52% of them are children. 1/3 of syria's population has been forced out of their homes. jordan's population has increased by 9%, and lebanon's population has increased by 19%. this disaster demands the attention of the united states not only because americans are and have been traditionally a generous people who have volunteered to step forward with assistance in humanitarian crises, but also because this crisis threatens the stability of some of our key allies, including jordan, lebanon, and israel. given its fragile political situation, lebanon is a particular concern.
it would be tragic and dangerous if the iranian-backed hezbollah militia exploited the humanitarian crisis to gain control of the country. and we should be particularly concerned by recent reports that hezbollah's smuggling long-range missile systems from syria into lebanon. where they could be used to target israel. it is also a serious concern that some of the al qaeda affiliated terrorist who is have infiltrated the syrian opposition have also apparently infiltrated the refugee population, or using them as cover to move into host nations. this is obviously been a grave concern to many countries who have been asked to grant additional visas. in addition, i'm particularly concerned about the neglected plight of the many christian refugees, both inside and outside of syria.
the reports of the ancient christian communities that are targeted by extremist elements in the opposition that the regime forces can't or won't protect are heartbreaking. as we explore the visa issue, we should not neglect the tragic circumstances syrian christians facing oppression. it for a long time chairman durbin has worked hard to ensure that perpetrators of human rights abuses do not obtain safe haven in the united states. and i thank the chairman for his leadership on that issue, particularly through the genocide accountability act and the human rights enforcement act, both of which have been made law. while we have come a long way because of the chairman's work, his intention highlights the challenges still remain to improve federal law and to strengthen our immigration screening system at the front
end, thereby ensuring that dangerous people are not allowed into this country in the first instance. so not only do we have a humanitarian crisis, we have potentially a security crisis as well. i look forward to hearing the thoughts and learned judgment of the members of this panel on how we can approach these interrelated problems and hopefully on how we can make progress on alleviating both. i welcome you. >> thanks, senator cruz. senator klobuchar has asked for a brief opening statement. i'll offer the same opportunity to the other members here today. >> thank you so much, senator durbin, and thank you for holding this hearing. our conflict in syria remains one of the most crucial important challenges we face and address this refugee crisis caused by the war is essential to our stability in the region, but as we can see by the people who have joined us today, the
refugees, essential to the people of syria. in april i visit one of syria's -- visited one of syria's neighbors, two of them, jordan and turkey, and we had the opportunity to visit the refugee cam national park jordan right on the border there and to meet with a few of the 120,000 syrians, the 120,000 syrians that were there. i will never forget this visit. i will never forget the one man atrocity.s that the each of the people we met with went through what happened with their families. a young boy, was only 11 years old, it felt like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. his father had a been shot and badly injured before escaping to jordan. now it is up to this 11-year-old boy to make sure that the rest of his family was
taken care of. every day he would stand in line for food and water, every day he could carry what he could hold in his hands back to his family. at 11 years old he had seen more suffering and injustice than most people will see in their entire lifetime. this is just one of millions of tragic stories that we have heard from the men, women, and children who have had to flee their homes in syria. my home state has always been a state of refugees. we have one of the largest somali populations in the contry, and we have a long hmong population in the country. we see these refugees whether they be from somalia or liberia as part of the fabric of our state and culture, and we are as much the richer for them. i am looking forward to hearing about resettlement efforts at this point. i'm looking forward to hearing about where aid is going, something senator graham and i encountered when we were there in terms of an issue and other steps being taken to help syrians that are in desperate need of assistance.
thank you. >> thank you. senator graham. >> thank you, senator durbin. i won't take long. i just want to thank you for holding this hearing. i think it's an issue that merits our attention. i think we have been in the hearing on this before, ms. richard. we have been a day late and dollar short consistently with our response to the syrian crisis. and as a result we have always been behind the curve. as a result i think there's been unnecessary human suffering. like senator klobuchar i traveled to the area with a bipartisan delegation. i would like to put into the record a letter that senator mccain and i, senator gillibrand, senator blumenthal and others wrote to the president urging a fulsome and robust response to the crisis that has developed in syria, and i hope we learn a lesson from this because, frankly, we
were warned all along the way. despite the warning from members of congress, from allies in the neighborhood we remained always a day late and a dollar short. i think it has been a very unfortunate episode. .hank you >> without, the letter will be admitted into the record. the committee has a standard of practice swears in the witness. i ask the three to please stand and raise your right hand. do you affirm the testimony you are about to give before the subcommittee will be the trithe, whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god. thank you. let the witnesses reflect the witnesses have answered in the affirmative. each witness will give five minutes for opening statement and the written statements included in their entirety. senator leahy, the chairman of the full judiciary committee has been a leader on refugee issues, has submit add statement. without objection it will be -- submitted a statement. without objection will be placed into the record. our first witness, ann richard, currently serves as secretary
of state for migration. he was an advocate for international committee. and helping refugees internally displaced from other conflicts. during the clinton administration she served in a variety of capacities in the state and peace corps and office of management and budget. prior to her government service, she's was part of the team that created the international crisis group. she has a b.s. in foreign service from georgetown university, and m.a. in public policy studies from the university of chicago. thank you for joining us today. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to thank the other members, ranking member cruz, senator klobuchar, and senators whitehouse and graham for coming out today. senator graham has sat through and chaired a similar hearing. he's a die-hard fan of ours. we appreciate that. or at least very interested in the subject which we appreciate. thank you for holding this
hearing and blig attention to the tragedy unfoileding in the middle east. i'm here today with colleagues from u.s. agency for international development and department of homeland security. i'm going to limit my remarks to the state department's role in assisting refugees overseas. we are also going to talk about aid inside syria. and molly groom from d.h.s. will talk about resettlement. i'm happy to take questions on any of these subjects because we are working very closely together on all these things. in the interest of time i'll keep my remarks more restricted. you know that more than 2.3 million have crossed syria's borders and are considered refugees. they fled to all the neighboring countries. most of whom are struggling to help them. we are incredibly grateful to these countries for letting them in. and we want them to keep their borders opened and not push anyone back. in order for them to do so, these neighboring countries need our help. they need our help not just in delivering aid to the refugees, but they also need our help for
their own poor citizens. and they need help for their bubts -- budgets which are strained by delivering services to these much larger populations. schools have moved to double shifts to accommodate the children, hospital beds are filled by syrian patients, rents have risen, wages have fallen as a result of the competition for housing and jobs. there are water shortages. the drain on water resources, especially severe in jordan. helping the host community, in addition to the refugees themselves, we do this, for example, in parts of chad where they are given help along refugees from darfur. and we need more in terms of providing services in addition to items like food vouchers and blankets. this will involve more than just humanitarian agencies. we need and are getting help from the world bank and development agencies and our colleagues at usaid to work on longer term development n
talking about the situation, the refugees themselves, i think that was a very good video that we saw from unacr. i recently made by sixth visit to the region. my seventh is upcoming to jordan this weekend. right before christmas i traveled to northern iraq. there i had the pleasure of wading through oceans of mud in cold temperatures to visit with refugee families and consult with local government officials. the u.s. agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and local charities have managed to have a lot of people in tents and keep them warm using an extra layer of tenting fabric, and lots and lots of blankets. still this is no place for children to grow up. i saw kids there running around in plastic flip-flops without socks. this is not a good environment for families. and i have met with syrian refugees in all of the other countries bordering syria. in lebanon they continue to keep its borders mostly opened
and now hosting the largest number of refugees in the smallest country in the region. you have already mentioned its refugees make up 20% of the population in lebanon on top of 400,000 palestinians who have been there for decades. more than a million refugees are split between turkey and jordan. those are just the registered refugees. there are many more living in both those cities. iraq and egypt also have large populations of syrians. it's important to know, and i am so grateful that some of you have visited the camps, but most refugees do not live in the camps. in early december my principal deputy assistant secretary visited refugees in the cities of southern turkey and there he saw the work of n.g.o.'s and musenies pal governments struggling to deal with an influx of refugees living in the cities and towns of turkey. despite their efforts, most were not getting services and living in substandard conditions.
for this reason one of our top goals is to focus more attention on the plight of urban refugees and do everything we can to get aid to these families. other challenges that we talk about in the testimony are children. the u.n. high commissioner for refugees and unicef have come together. there's a press statement that gave out today that save the children and world vision were also involved in an initiative we support called no loss generation. trying to make sure that we keep these children inside and fleeing from syria safe, healthy, educated, and away from danger. they need a future. another issue of great concern to all of us is protection of women and girls. here we have, i know, a lot of bipartisan support. we also have support from secretary kerry who has put together an initiative called safe from the start, to make sure we protect women and girls in this cry sifments we are also concerned about them surviving the winter.
final remarks i'd like to say that on january 15 we'll be in debate for a pledging conference to reiterate american support for the humanitarian response. of course beyond that our secretary will be heading to the again neeve yeah two conference to bring peace to this very troubled area. this is not the only crisis to which we are rushing humanitarian aid. south sudan is suffering a political crisis that has displaced 190,000 of its citizens with another 32,000 streaming across its boarders. the latest update puts the number of displaced at 930,000. this is 20% of that country's population displaced. the same proportion as there are refugees in lebanon. this administration is addressing all of thee crisis at the same time with high levels of vigor and energy and dedication. the most senior mefments administration are fully engaged including the national security advisor and my boss, john kerry.
but their intention does not mean these tough situations are easily solved and we can't do much without your support. especially in the case of humanitarian endeavors, support for our budget and budgets of all our diplomatic activities is very helpful. thank you. >> thanks, ms. richard. nancy lindburgh serves as usaid assistant administrator for the bureau of democracy, conflict, and humanitarian assistance. where she leads the efforts of more than 500 team members in nine offices focused on crisis prevention, response, recovery, and transition. she has led dcha teams in response to the ongoing sir yab crisis, the 2012 horn of africa 2011 droughts, the arab spring, and numerous other global crises. she was back to her home base in chicago a few months ago discussing the typhoon in the philippines. i know you have very busy schedule. prior to joining usaid she was
president of mercy corps for 14 years, b. a&m a. in english literature from stanford, m.a. in public administration from the j.f.k. school of harvard. i want to take this opportunity to thank you again for coming >> thank you very much, chairman durbin. thank as, ranking member cruz and other members of the subcommittee. we really appreciate your having this hearing today to shine a light on this crisis and most importantly put a human face on it. we've heard the staggering statistics and the numbers are really hard to comprehend and thank you for the stories that you told. but those in need in this crisis are equal to the entire state of new jersey. and the displaced are as if the entire state of massachusetts were out of their homes. and most importantly the five million children who are affected is equal to the children in the entire 25 largest school districts in this country.
so that's all of new york, all of los angeles, etc., etc., for 25 school districts. this is a generation of syrian children who have been traumatized by bombs, who have -- many of them lost their homes, their families, their friends. and unfortunately similar to massachusetts and new jersey, the region faces one of the worst winters in the last 100 years, adding to the hardship of families out of their homes. working in partnership, the united states humanitarian response has reached millions. we have saved millions of lives. but we also know that the needs are escalating faster than any of our collective responses can manage to reach. , so i'd like to cover three quick areas today. first, a quick update on our very significant life-saving humanitarian response, which does include a focus on the most vulnerable, especially women and very importantly children who will steer the future course of this country and this nation.
the united states has made a total contribution of $1.3 billion. and we are reaching regularly about 4.2 million people in all 14 governance inside syria, as well as the two million refugees in neighboring countries and we've doubled the number of our partners inside syria and we're working through all possible channels, the u.n., n.g.o.'s, international groups and local. we are reaching about 2.7 million people with medical care and thanks to the many and extraordinarily courageous doctors, nurses and health care workers who risk their lives every day inside syria. we are the single largest donor of emergency food aid and thanks to the very flexible tools that allow us to provide vouchers and do local regional purchase, we are able to feed about 4.2 million people inside syria and 1.3 million refugees every day who depend upon that food. all of our assistance takes into account the vulnerability,
particularly of women and whirn and women who experience gender-based violence. we have an initiative called safe from the start. that prioritizes this in all of our assistance. also we are working very closely with the international community on the no loss generation strategy, that looks at programs to help children inside and outside of syria and today is the start of a very major multipartner media campaign to put a face on this crisis that has dragged on into its third year now. so, a few key challenges that i want to note. the first is that the insecurity of this war zone complicates every day the ability to deliver assistance. roads are closing, hundreds of checkpoints make it very dangerous for aid workers to cross lines and to get into communities. most concerning, there's an estimated 250,000 people who have been completely and
deliberately cut off from humanitarian assistance for many months now. in areas that is are besieged by the regime, as you noted, in campaigns that are unconscionable. in october the u.n. security council passed a presidential statement that urges all parties of the conflict to facilitate immediate access. this statement lays down a very clear set of markers for the syrian regime regarding the world's expectations that it will provide the access that it's long denied and by taking these clear steps, the regime has the power to enable life-saving assistance to reach more than 200,000 people in need immediately. finally, resources remain a key constraint and as we head to kuwait next week for the donors conference, we're making a major push for all donors across the globe to step up to the plate, to help with this escalating burden.
we have also within uaid, reoriented our development activities in the neighboring states. we are working with our development and humanitarian resources and with our partners to help create a comprehensive response for the neighbors states that are straining to accommodate the needs of their own people in addition to the millions of new refugees. and we're seeing this convergence of of course communities hosting the largest number of refugees. so in jordan, for example, where the domestic water supply is among the lowest in the world, usaid used $20 million from our complex crisis fund to help communities with that large refugee population. so our efforts are both to assist with the development needs of communities as well as contribute to the region's stability. we know that humanitarian assistant is not the solution to this -- assistance is not the solution this horrible crisis and it cannot end the bloodshed but it is saving countless lives every day. it is helping to protect the
vulnerable from a very, very devastating conflict. the united states remains committed to using every possible tool that we can to reach syrians in need and to bring in our full diplomatic weight to help attain greater access. so thank you for your time today, for the vital congressional support that makes our work possible, and we look forward to your questions. >> thanks. we're now going to hear from mollie groom. immigration and border security. at the department of homeland security. she's detailed to her current position from her permanent role as chief of the refugee and asylum law division in the office of chief council. she's worked in a variety of capacities on immigration law, in the department of justice and the department of homeland security. graduate of duke with an a.b. in comblish, a j.d. and her master's in social science, received national security law from georgetown university. i came to know ms. groom when
she was on detail with senator menendez to work on the bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that the senate considered this year. last year i should say. it is nice to see you again. the floor is yours. you want to push the button in front of you there? >> thank you so much. and thank you, ranking member cruz, and the distinguished members of the subcommittee. i appreciate the opportunity to address the refugee resettlement and other humanitarian efforts that we are under taking to address the crisis in sir yafment as you are all aware, -- syria. as you are all aware, the u.s. has a proud and long standing tradition of giving protection and freedom to refugees from around the world who fear persecution. refugee resettlement is a cornerstone of our national character and reflects our country's commitment to humanitarian ideals. it is this commitment which must be carried out. d.h.s. along with the department of state is committed to ensuring that the u.s. continues
to take a leading role in refugee resettlement and other humanitarian protections. the u.s. refugee admissions program serves a critical role in identifying individuals in need of protection who do not present a risk to our national security and to our otherwise admissible to the u.s. as jeffrey -- as refugees. it is d.h.s.'s immigration and services that is responsible for determining whether individuals meet the refugee definition. they do this by conducting individual, in depth interviews and considering the results of security affects, extensive security checks. in 2005 uscis created the refugee corps, a can dray of specially trained officers who travel overseas. these officers receive extensive training which includes information about the specific populations they will be interviewing, including the likely types of claims that they will encounter, fraud trenleds or security issues, and detailed
country of origin information, all refugee status determinations under go 100% supervisory review, before final decision is reached. security checks are an integral part of the refugee resettlement process. and coordinating these checks is a shared responsibility between the department of state and the democratic of homeland security -- department of homeland security. the refugee vetting process in place today employs robust security measures to protect risk to our national security. and d.h.s. would never approve a refugee applicant for travel until all required security checks are completed and cleared. refugee vetting happens at different stages of the process. and the procedure includes initial, biographic and biometric security checks against d.h.s. holdings, f.b.i. holdings, department of defense holdings, state holdings and intelligence community holdings. and those checks are performed again, the interagency a checks, predeparture, so that is before
the refugee is scheduled to travel to the united states. while no screening is infallible, we believe that our current refugee screening systems are more likely today to detect individuals with derogatory information should they apply. d.h.s. works early on with the department of state to provide feedback on which refugee groups being considered for resettlement are likely to qualify and which may pose eligibility concerns. the broad definitions of terrorist activity and terrorist organizations under u.s. immigration law are often a hurdle to resettling otherwise eligible refugees who pose no security threat. examples of these groups include the ethnic burmese who provided food to an individual or iraqis who paid ransoms for the release of family members. given the complexities of the crisis in syria, we believe certain refugees fleeing the crisis may fall within the terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds as they
are defined in the immigration and nationality act. with the breadth of these grounds, the law also gives the secretaries of state and homeland security in consultation with the attorney general, broad discretionary authority to issue exemptions when the circumstances might justify an exemption. d.h.s., d.o.s. and the department of justice engage in interagency consultation process on the exercise of this exemption authority. this process is used to ensure that the terrorism-related and admissibility grounds are applied in a way that protect our national security but also allow individuals who pose no threat to potentially receive immigration benefits that they are otherwise eligible for. if the secretary of homeland security or the secretary of state exercises the exemption authority, the department of homeland security or the department of state may then apply these exemptions on a case by case basis. taking into consideration the totality of the circumstances.
any individual who poses a threat to the safety or security of the u.s. would not be eligible for an exemption. we are ever-mindful that addressing humanitarian needs must be coupled with robust measures to protect national security, including the security screening of refugee applicants. with regard to the population fleeing syria, the department of homeland security and the department of state have had a series of conversations on how best to address resettlement of any potential exemmingts-related issues. with regard to possible new exemption authority, interagency a consultations are ongoing. i appreciate the opportunity to testify and for your interest in how we are approaching resettlement of refugees fleeing the crisis in syria. and i would be happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thanks. uhcr has begun efforts to resettle especially vulnerable refugees in third countries, including 30,000 in fiscal year 2014. i'm struck by that number.
that they're trying to resettle 30,000 and we're talking about an order of magnitude in the millions of refugees, but 30,000 is the unhcr target number. the united states typically accepts more than half of resettled refugees under this type of program. administration officials previously told the staff or a subcommittee the united states is likely to accept only a few hundred syrian refugees in this fiscal year, which ends in october. october 1. however in your testimony today, you said, and i quote, we expect to accept referrals for several thousand refugees in 2014. can you please clarify that? >> thank you for your question. and i get asked a lot about whether we will accept refugees in the united states, not just here in washington, but also when i travel overseas. because the neighboring countries would like us to, out of solidarity with them, bring in a share of refugees as well. i explained to them that it is
our tradition to do so. we have every intention of doing so. we are not at all opposed to bringing syrian refugees to the united states. the fact that we haven't brought many so far is due to, first, our hope and now discarded that this conflict would be over quickly and they would be able to go home quickly. and that has not been the case. secondly, we take refugees after they've been referred by the u.n. high commissioner for refugees, and so that process did not start at once but instead started after a period of time. and now our own process takes a little while, it's very deliberate and careful, it's designed to be that way to make sure that we only take bona fide refugees. so we are working very quickly now to respond to referrals from unhcr and to start that process of bringing in refugees. unhcr's think that
desire to send 30,000 to new homes in other countries this year is ambition -- ambitious and i want to do everything we can to bring in as many as we can to the united states before the end of the fiscal year. in all honesty i don't think you'll see big numbers until the next fiscal year, the end of this calendar year. >> of course it's difficult to speak to our allies and friends and ask them to also bear the burden if we don't do it as well. >> that's right. the good thing is, i was able to say that we would -- could be counted on to bring in refugees in part because we have this that digs that has bipartisan support on the hill -- this tradition that has bipartisan support on the hill of bringing in refugees. last year we brought in 70,000. that was the closest we've come in 30 years to reaching our target level. we've got 99.9% of the refugees we planned to bring in we brought in. so we've done a lot of things to make sure our process works quickly and well.
it's deliberately supposed to be designed. the bona fide refugees come in and bad guys do not come in. and that process that molly described very well of checking to make sure that we're only bringing bona fide refugees does take a little time. >> so, let's go to the bad guy issue. and talk about it for a moment. i mentioned it at the outset. because of concerns over what we've heard in terms of applying the rules as written. if someone is seeking refugee status and they somehow even supported an armed rebel group which the united states is directly supporting, it could in some cases raise questions if not disqualify them. the same questions have been raised about those who help groups under duress. it was a witness before this committee or a case before this committee of a colombian nurse who at the point of gun was providing medical assistance to a farc injured rebel and was
disqualified as a refugee because of her involvement, even though her actions were under duress. the point made by senator cruz is, obviously -- cruz is obvious and valid. we do not want anyone to come into the united states who will be a threat to our security. that is something i think we owe the american people, the assurance we've done everything humanly possible to stop that from occurring. let me ask you at this point, ms. groom, as you reflect on this, can you update us on the status of exemptions that have been prepared for cases like those that i've described? and what is the timetable for a decision about proposed material exemption to the material support bar which i think overarching -- is an overarching description what have we've been describing? >> thank you for the opportunity to talk about the trig grounds as we call them. and the exemption process. as you know, the terrorism-related
inadmissibility grounds are quite broad, because of the definition of terrorist organizations and the definition of terrorist activity. a terrorist organization is -- includes any undesignated terrorist organization, which means any two members who use a firearm or other weapon with the intent to endanger. that is a terrorist organization if they engage in terrorist activity. so the exemption process is the flexibility that is provided for in the law and the interagency working group that i mentioned has exercised an exemption for those who provide medical care under duress. there is also an exemption for those who provide material support under duress. so those exemptions are already in place. and may be useful with the population, you know, fleeing syria. you were asking about -- i believe you were asking about something that we have been discussing for quite some time and whether or not there should
be an exemption for insignificant amounts of material support. and with that exemption it is on an accelerated track. we are nearing the finish line and we're at the point of senior -level engagement and we're going to bring this to a close in the interagency and it will be moving to the secretarial level for decision making very shortly. is i hope to have good news on that front soon. >> thank you. when i visited the refugee camp in turkey, 10,000 people and i think it was an extraordinary effort by the turkish government to accommodate a large number of people, men, women and children. and we went into the classroom and i'm sure these children were completely beside themselves to figure out who we were, why we were there. they were syrian children who were in a classroom being taught in turkish and greeted by american visitors in english. i'm sure that they were puzzled as to what life held for the next day. but it raises the question that you've addressed here.
the so-called lost generation. what are we going to do with these children as they lose their opportunity for a normal, regular education? what efforts, as you mentioned, are under way to try to avoid this? >> well, there's a unified campaign and strategy under the heading of no lost generation. that's looking at how do we pull together the resources from both our humanitarian accounts, with our partner as as well, both inside and outside syria and in the neighboring countries and how do we focus in on all the ways that we can help children both access education and be provided with the kind of opportunities that create a little more normalcy in their lives. so, for example, in lebanon, in addition to the assistance that we're providing through our humanitarian efforts, we are also, with our development funds, focusing in on education
because one of the big challenges is the number of syrian children in lebanon who need to be accommodated by an already overburdened school system. you already have double shifts in a lot of the schools in lebanon. so the focus is to create that comprehensive approach where we're able to bring in the development funds that help both the communities but also get kids into school, get kids into ways that they have more of a sense of future and hope. unfortunately inside syria it's much more complicated because it's difficult to restore infrastructure when they're still under aerial bombardment. so in those instances it's more of a focus on the kind of psychological or safe spaces that we can help to provide these kids and also just that they get clothing and food to eat. >> thanks. senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you to each of the members of the panel today.
assistant secretary richard, could you put the impact of the displaced syrian refugees into historical perspective? what comparable events have we seen in the past and what have been the consequences of snose -- of those? >> we haven't seen anything like this in several decades. genocides, an people fleeing from rwanda, but it was a very short period of time in which they were on the move. and then there was a larger effort to address the situation the they had fled to modern day democratic republic of congo. we saw widespread chaos in the
balkans in the mid 1990's. that involved pulling together a lot of different parts of the united nations, peace keepers, diplomatic measures. this is different in many ways in that one of the things that has happened, and this was referenced earlier, is we've seen a country lose about 35 years of development. in a sense it's a suicide of syria, because the hospitals have been bombed, schools have been bombed, civilians have been killed by the tens of thousands, and when we talk about no lost generation, this ought to be the generation that will be the future of syria. i don't know where the leaders are going to come from if they're not in school and if their families are torn apart and they're traumatized from what they've witnessed. so, this sets a horrible new
standard i think in our historic anals in terms of the amount of mayhem and tragedy that can be pread in a couple years. >> in terms of prior refugee crises, what efforts have been undertaken to alleviate those crises and how successful would you characterize those efforts as having been? >> i think today we see the fruits of some of the lessons learned in the past because ever before have i seen such a impressive group of u.n. agency heads, including a few americans , unicef and the world food program, so we have a lot of very good relations with the u.n. leadership there. and also we have some really good experience behind them.
and also we have a much more professional aide workers on the ground, using more tie time-tested techniques to -- more time-tested techniques to help people. the problem is that it's such an overwhelming crisis. that even though so many lives have been saved and so many people have gotten help in the places to which they have run, it's not enough. it requires more. this is why we are taking extraordinary measures like the kuwait pledging conference held for a second year soon, and trying to pull the world together, get new donors to the never before degrees of coordination between the players in the field to work together. >> and this is a question for anyone on the panel who would care to respond. but in your judgment, how would you assess the impact of this
crisis on u.s. allies in the region and in particular lebanon in terms of the stability and security? >> i'll start -- it's having a devastating impact. the undermining the stability of the region. it's no longer a syria crisis, it's a regional crisis. d we have very close relationships in jordan, our embassy works very closely with the government there. they are very, very worried about their abilities to host this third wave of refugees because they have hosted palestinians for decades, they've hosted iraqi refugees recently, an uptick in refugees from iraq coming into jordan, and now they have opened their homes and cities and towns and schools to the syrians. the only place worse off than jordan in terms of concerns and
the fears of the government officials with whom i meet is lebanon. and lebanon has -- is just not -- has just not got a society and a government organized to respond as robustly as some of the other countries. and so there has been increased tensions within that society, even as they brought in more refugees than any other city -- or any other state, and even as they've been very generous in letting people come and kept their borders open, the tensions have built and the internal sectarian tensions are also on the rise. and so we should all be very concerned about what this crisis means for the countries in the region. >> an let me again ask the panel, in your judgment, how serious a threat and how widespread are we seeing the
infiltration and exploitation of refugees by al qaeda and radical extremists? >> i'll answer that. it's not large numbers. most refugees groups that you meet, most in the camps, are civilians, families, law-abiding people who are just shattered by what's happening in syria. this thing that we know though is it doesn't take a lot of evil doctors to cause a lot of halve -- evil doers to cause a lot of havoc. it's not a wide problem but it is a real problem and so that's why i respect your concern that we do everything we can to avoid radicalization and that, also to make sure that borders are guarded carefully. so that only legitimate refugees come across. which will be the most of the people will be legitimate refugees but also the bad
element is kept out. what i fear for though is i don't want americans to equate refugees with terrorists. and they're not. refugees here today with us are journalists and scholars and family people. so, i guess i don't have to convince you. if your parents were refugees. but i do think that sometimes americans who have not personally met refugees are fearful. once they meet refugees usually they're convinced. refugees themselves make the best ambassadors toward this program. >> thank you very much. >> thank you very much. thank you to aum of you, our witnesses -- thank you to all of you, our witnesses. the one thing i thought was good that you talked about early on is that we focus a lot on the camps, several of us as you noted have been there. but that in fact most of the refugees are out in the countries, in jordan for the most part, and other countries.
and i understand nearly 520,000 refugees are in jordan, increasing that country's population by 9%, over 750,000 in lebanon, adding 20%. when we visited jordan last april we met with the king and he met with us for a significant period of time and talked about how the refugee situation was increasingly difficult for his country to handle. to use secretary richard and then administrator lindborg, how do you consider all that? >> first, i would just like to say that nancy lindborg is from minnesota, she's not from illinois. so we should just out her right there. you can tell by her last name. >> i lived in chicago for four years. >> i live there had for two years. - i lived there for two years.
so, we're very concerned about jordan, which is why we spent a lot of time visiting with our colleagues who work in jordan, and also with ambassadors here and we have a very active embassy there led by ambassador jones and we have a lot of colleagues who are working in jordan, to work very carefully with that government which is very aligned in their approach to the crisis. to provide assistance. they know that our funding in the state department, population refugees immigration bureau that i lead, goes through the u.n. high commissioner for refugees, goes through the international organization -- >> is it true that -- just speaking of the u.n. high commission, i know when senator graham and i were there, we were concerned that when it comes from the u.n., it only goes through the assad regime. is that correct? >> no, that's not correct. >> assad regime does not benefit
from u.s. taxpayer support? >> the u.n. aid can go to the rebel groups. what is true is that -- and nancy i can tell wants to pick up on this, what is true is that the u.n. agencies need the permission of the assad regimes to bring their staff in on visas and to set up their operations in damascus and then they try to get as far around syria as they can get. >> ok, but that does mean that they have control over where the aid goes and it makes it harder for it to go to certain regions. > yes. >> to finish on this. the constraints on providing assistance from a damascus basis are the core parts of this october statement that was released, that has a very specific list that we're happy to send to you all, that says these are the things that we need for that assistance to be able to reach people in need more effectively and it's in
particular the 200,000 who are in areas besinaled by the syrian regime -- besieged by the syrian regime, as well as two million people who are in conflict-affected areas. so we have a lot of concerns about the ability to reach everyone in need. to your question about jordan, i think that for both jordan and lebanon as well, there's a lot of concern about the stability when you have that level of influx of refugees. in jordan we have put about $1 billion of assistance through development aid to jordan, both for budget support, as well as into those communities that have the greatest refugee burden. there's a lot of concern about stress infrastructure and about very scarce resources and so we've put much of our development assistance focused on that. we're also, as we provide humanitarian assistance, looking at ways that not only it benefits the refugee population, but also the locals. so because of this flexibility
that we have with some of our food aid assistance, we've done vouchers that enable the refugees to buy food in local stores so it's a revenue benefit for the local merchants. which makes a huge difference in terms of community acceptance. >> ms. groom, i was looking at the numbers from southeast asia and i think we got 130,000 south asian refugees that came to the u.s. at the end of the vietnam war. and many of them are in minnesota and i would note the burmese. many of those are in minnesota as well. i'm just concerned when i hear these numbers, hundreds that senator durbin was talking about, even though assistant secretary richard talked about thousands, but i'm very concerned about the numbers. when i think that we should be making it easier, while still checking everything you need to check. i know in the immigration bill there were some provisions that passed the senate that would make it easier to speed up some
of these asylum applications. would that helpful? >> yes, thank you so much for the question. as you note, in senate bill 744, it does remove the one-year filing drawing from asylum claims and that is something we've seen in the past year, 1,335 syrians have applied for asylum. now, while there is an exception for the one-year filing deadline right now, if it were removed and the senate bill were passed, it would make those claims move more quickly and it seems to be the right result given the crisis there. there are also some other changes to the refugee program that are contained in the bill that might be useful for resettling refugees. and then there are changes also to the expedited removal and the credible fear process. >> how many do you think we're going to be able to resettle in the u.s. in the coming year when there's 135,000 or whatever that have applied? well, i i think assistant
secretary richard spoke to -- the numbers were really -- the referrals are going to start coming in very shortly. but then the process works. and it takes a bit of time. so we're going to start seeing arrivals not until the end of this year likely. >> it seems like such a long time. i would just end with that. just say to the refugees that are here with us today, the , how sorry it here am about this and on christmas eve our church were like many churches in the u.s., everyone hold as candle and we go around and sing "silent night" and i hadn't been thinking of syria for a number of weeks, and that was all i could think about when i stood there. was those refugees that when we went and visited them, the rebels were doing much better and we said, oh, we know this is going to improve for you by the end of this year with he know the situation is improving and to me it's only gotten worse. that's why i'm so much interested in this idea of the
resettlement and working with our allies and leading so that other countries in europe and other places will also bring in these refugees as we do not see an immediate end to this conflict. so i appreciate your effort. thank you. >> thanks. i want to thank my colleague, senator graham, for his patience in waiting. and especially for his dedication to syria and the challenges it faces. senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. for, one, hosting this hearing. i think most americans are concerned about a lot of things. and syria's hard to get people's attention about. not because americans are hard-hearted but the complicated world in which we live in. hearings like this are very important. i want to compliment the ranking member here. i think he understands exactly what's going on. ms. groom, in 2014, does congress need to do anything pretty soon to make sure that we can achieve our fair share of e refugees in changing the laws? do you have any proposals?
>> i don't have any proposals to offer you today. but we have offered to work with the senate -- >> i guess what i'm saying. i don't see a comprehensive immigration bill passing any time soon. so when it comes to changes in our laws, exemptions, if you need something beyond the ability you have within the body that you work, please let us know. because i think a lot of us may have different views about immigration, but would be willing to accommodate some legal changes if it would help expedite this process. that's an opportunity for you. >> i welcome that. >> consume of ideas right off the top of my head. never missing an opportunity. is that, you know, we have this sort of tradeoff to make within our budget, at the state department. do we -- how much do we devote to bringing refugees to the u.s. and how much do we devote to helping refugees overseas in the places where they live? we help far more overseas. it sounds like there is support
here for bringing even more refugees to the united states, beyond the 70,000 that we brought. but in order to do that, we would hate to undermine our overseas programs. and so we need support for both. >> let's talk about this. i think there is bipartisan support for trying to do a better job in terms of assimilating nonterrorist refugees in the united states. i just think senator cruz represents what can happen when you take people from other countries. our country benefits. and i'm sure there are democrats who are refugees too. so we don't want to make this partisan. [laughter] but the bottom line is, i think america has a pretty good track record of assimilating people. now, about the budget. , how muchfood program of their budget is allocated to syria? >> increasingly a large percentage. >> i just met with a lady in
rome. she says they're being overwhelmed. >> they are overwhelmed. we are the largest single donor and it vacuums up all of our flexibility. >> her budget is being destroyed. >> as it ours -- >> every other refugee in the problem is being displaced but syria. so the world food program is being devastated by syria. when it comes to appropriations, ms. richard, i'm the ranking republic working with -- republican working with senator lee. week of tried to increase funding. there's a limit of what we can do. could you provide the appropriations committee and the judiciary committee with what you think would be a two or three-year plan here? do you see the war ending this year? >> regrettably no. >> do you think al qaeda's going to go to geneva 2? >> i don't hang out a lot with al qaeda. >> i know. but i don't think they're going to be invited. >> i think the chances for geneva 2 making some modest excesses are increasing just in the last few days. but i defer to robert ford on that. >> i hope you're right. but here's what i see.
>> i think dish know where you and i agree is that this is not an easy crisis to end. >> what i'm trying to lay out is the worst is yet to come. do you agree with that? >> i hope that's not the case. >> hope is not my question. do you agree that the worst is yet to come? >> if i were not a hopeful person i wouldn't be in my job. >> well, just from an analytical point of view. do you think the worst is yet to come? >> we do know that this is the largest u.n. appeal in history. and it is more than 2/3 of the rest of the global appeals put together. >> do you think, ms. richard, that 2014 is dramatically better for syria or worse? in terms of the refugee problem? >> what concerns me is the idea of donor fatigue taking hold. we have been trying to get more donations from our countries and so if it continues the way it has, and i would be stupid to suggest it might not, if it
continues that way, we have got to somehow enlist new donors to come. >> do you think it would be wise for america to plan for the worst and not hope for best when it comes to syria? >> i agree that in dealing with a refugee crisis of this magnitude, we have to have contingencies for some really scary scenarios. >> let's talk about some of those. they're not unrealistic. you were at -- and i really, you know, you do a good job. i don't mean to be exative here. at the hearing we had in appropriations, didn't the lebanese ambassador say his country was saturated? >> absolutely. he had -- we've provided the photos so he show that there are syrian refugees on every square turf of lebanon. >> he said they can't take any more people. what's the likelihood in 2014 of lebanon closing their borders to syrian refugees? >> i'm going to try -- >> would you agree that would be a bad situation? >> to keep that from happening. >> trying -- i'm trying to plan for the worst case.
>> the worst case scenario would be a lot more refugees streaming out of syria. the amazing thing to me is that not more have. they clearly are trying to stay put. >> i think the worst case scenario would be if they had no place to go. what's the likelihood of lebanon and jordan closing their borders because their countries' sovereignty and security is at risk, to syrian refugees in 2014? >> we have seen that what is happening is that the borders have already been moved from being open in most cases to being managed. >> could you give me a plan, let's assume for the worst now, what would our response be as the world and as a nation if in 2014, god for bid, the lebanese closed their borders, the jordanians closed their borders? so you don't have to answer that question now. but i think we need to get really serious about this. because i think the worst is yet to come and i got -- and i hope i'm wrong.
>> one of the things is good is that the u.n. appeals assume, you though, more challenging scenarios -- you know, more challenging scenarioses and build in those funding. in terms of our being able to respond, i think we have benefited from your work and senator leahy's work last year that provided -- >> but that's nod quat over time, don't you think -- but that's inadequate over time, don't you think? we need to come up with a funding plan. >> the reason it's inadequate is because we haven't seen other countries step up and we have other crises to deal with. the other piece that i want to make sure i mention to you all today, is that the department of health and human services helps refugees once they've arrived in the u.s. we provide the aid thanks to you all, for the first 30 to the 0 days. 0 days. r that it's -- 9 but after that it's up to h.h.s.
>> i've i'm giving you an opportunity here to tell us that maybe the worst is yet to come. and prepare members of congress who are sympathetic with the bill you may send us. so if i were you, i would suggest to take this opportunity to sit down and write out what we may be facing as a nation in terms of our obligations to stabilize the region. that's all i'm asking. >> and we very much appreciate that. just to your point, we keep passing the worst case scenario. so we need to be thinking of that. there have already been extraordinary strains on the system. we keep coming up with new ways of addressing it and we will continue to be faced with that pressure and we would very much welcome the opportunity to work with you all further on envisioning what that might take. we were able to do the response that we did in this last fiscal year because of the very important support that we received. especially from the senate. so we thank you for that and i think that the partnership into the future will be really, eally important.
>> thank you, senator graham. i want to ask three last questions. and i'll ask senator cruz if he'd like to as well. we've not mentioned egypt which is receiving over 130,000 syrian refugees. we read about egypt every day and the political instability and violence in that nation. in lebanon in jordan, i have a different mind's image of what's going on on the grounds, weakness, vulnerability and worry, but in egypt it looks like clear instability. and i'd like to ask, syrian refugees who have fled to egypt face challenges because of this political turmoil. conditions for syrian refugees who have fled there have deteriorated in recent months as their political environment has deteriorated in egypt. some syrian refugees in egypt have faced arbitrary detention and deportation back to syria. has the u.s. government taken any steps to address the concerns that have been raised
about the treatment of syrian refugees in egypt? >> yes, senator. as you said, more than 130,000 syrian refugees have been registered in egypt. there's an additional 20,000 awaiting registration. most are living in greater cairo, significant numbers are also in alexandria. and on july 8 the interim yptian government proposed restriction procedures. tensions have resulted in increasing hostility toward syrians and palestinians from syria and have led to deportation and detention of refugees. the u.s. is providing funding to unhcr and other agencies to address their needs and unhcr has appealed to egyptian authorities to protect all syrians seeking refuge. at this morning's state department staff meeting we were joined by assistant secretary patterson who until recently was our u.s. ambassador to egypt. so i know she's fully aware of this. and she was part of a
conversation this morning about jis. ref >> -- refugees. >> there's a practical issue here on this no lost generation that gets down to something very basic and that is the fact that babies are being born in these refugee settings. recent unhcr survey on birth registration revealed 781 syrian newborns in lebanon. 77% of them had no official birth certificate. they are technically stateless at this point. these numbers are concerning because, as unhcr indicates, unregistered refugee children can face increased risk of exposure to violence, abuse and exploitation. the numbers may be low when you consider the universe of refugees, due in part to the barriers at birth registry that refugee families encounter at jordan and lebanon, including complex registration procedures. has the u.s. government taken any steps with unhcr, n.g.o.'s
and host governments to address the issue of statelessness among syrian refugee children? >> i'll take that and get back to you on that. i know statelessness is one of the unhcr's key mandates, fighting statelessness. and it's something we pay a lot of attention to globally. and i don't know the answer so i'll get back to you on that. thank you. >> so let's use this opportunity to give a shoutout if we've failed to to private sector efforts to try to help in this refugee situation. i understand ikea is trying to develop a new shelter, i don't know much more about it. >> they have developed it. it's really nifty. as would you expect. but the ikea foundation helps refugee situations in more than other places, but their new shelter is something that can be folded up into a suitcase so that way it can -- the home can travel with the refugees wherever they are. >> it was reported recently, lebanon started to allow these
ikea refugee housing units to be used to shelter syrians for fear that housing too sturdy and protective would encourage them to stay indefinitely. i found that interesting. when i traveled around the world and visited with refugees, they're ok but they're usually complaining a little bit. not enough food, problems here. the administrators of many refugee settings have said, we don't want them to get too comfortable. we want them to consider where their next move will be, hopefully it is back home. well, back home is out of the question now with syria's kirks here. but could you address -- circumstances here. but could you address that concern? >> i've had discussions about this with the minister of official affairs in lebanon, and he -- because i was trying to convince him to allow these ikea shelters to be used by the refugees. and so i'm very pleased that they have made this change in their policy. what several governments in the
region are concerned about is that they will host the refugees for a long, long time and the reason they are concerned is because jordan, lebanon and syria were three of the five fields that -- where palestinian refugees lived. and now palestinian refugees are fleeing from syria, which was -- had been a very safe place for them to live, and primarily going to lebanon. and so i think we have to respect the government officials who are concerned about protracted refugee situations in this part of the world because they have firsthand experience with it. and that's partly why i feel we should support them and make it easier for them to host the refugees, even as we try to do everything we can to get those syrian refugees home. >> there's been a great deal of interest in today's hearing. the turnout evidence is that. and dozens of organizations, i'm
going to read their names because some of them are doing extraordinarily good work. catholic relief services and others have presented testimony which will be part of the record. center for victims of torture, church world services, the episcopal church, evangelical lutheran church of america, human rights first, international rescue committee, joint statement of iraqi refugee assistance project, human rights initiative of north texas, lutheran immigration and refugee services, mercy corps, oxfam, refugee council u.s.a., refugees international, save the children, syrian american medical society, unicef and world relief and without objection, i'll place their statements in the record. the record's going to be open for a week. you may get a few additional questions and you promise me a few additional responses. and i appreciate what you had to say. and i will say in closing here, this was a pretty diverse political group sitting up here. and this is not always the type of topic that attracts anybody
other than the chairman and a ranking member. and it's an indication to me of something good and positive. we see a problem, we're a caring people, we want to do something about it. we want to be thoughtful, as senator cruz says, not to endanger the united states in any way. but to do our part to deal with a worldwide problem which he appreciates more than any of us could on this panel. so those who have given up on this institution, i hope today's hearing is an indication that sometimes we kind of do move in the right direction, even if we have different starting places. if there are no further comments from our panel, i want to thank the witnesses for attending, my colleagues for participating, and the hearing stands adjourned. >> today, the senate foreign relations committee examines the conflict in south sudan. you can see the hearing with state department and usaid officials live at 10:15 a.m.
eastern on c-span3. later, general frank grass speaks about the financial challenges facing the guard. live coverage at 1 p.m. eastern also on c-span3. >> jackson do a sharp line between states' rights and secession, or nullification. because the session was the obvious consequence of nullification. he drew a sharp line, why? because he remembered, as he stroked his head, that the british were out there and they were waiting to pick the americans off one by one. jackson, i have to reiterate, jackson thought the world was a dangerous place. and that danger is something jacksonville pursley as president, he felt it institutionally for the country. and he believes that secession, the separation of the states with open the united states up
to attack, threats, coercion by foreign powers starting with the british. >> andrew jackson, sunday at 7:30 p.m. eastern, part of american history tv this weekend on c-span3. >> in the house wednesday, represented bradley byrne was sworn in as those member, alabama. he was elected to fill the seat held by -- >> representative byrne and the members of the alabama delegation present themselves in the well of the house. will all members please rise? the john kimbell raise his right hand. do you solemnly swear that you
will support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that you take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter: so help you god? >> i do. >> congratulations. you are now a member of the -- [applause] without objection the gentleman from alabama is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. we welcome bradley byrne as those never of the alabama delegation. and d collin
athleen and laura. bradley asked me, and >> bradley asked me, do you ever get over the thrill of walking in this chamber? and the answer is, no, you never do. let me say this, we like bradley, the delegation. and i think you know how important that is. he has a wonderful wife. we're very excited about him being here. finish